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Climbed Mt. Takao


We just got back from Mt. Takao today. We’ve been practicing for our trip to Mt. Fuji tomorrow. Mt. Takao is one of the highest mountains in the Tokyo region, but it’s still only one sixth as high as Fuji.

Mt. Takao is about 600m high and the course is approximately 4km with gentle to medium gradients along the whole length. It’s more a of a trek than a climb. The whole route is shady with only a few patches of exposed slope, so there usually aren’t any problems with sunburn.

It’s hard to imagine that Mt. Takao is in Tokyo. Who would think that less than half an hour on a local train from Shinjuku would take one right out of the city and into the middle of a national park. The transformation is incredible: Within ten minutes, the towering buildings are gone, replaced by a sea of apartments and blocks of flats. Within twenty minutes, the apartments are mostly gone, giving way to a low sprawl of tightly packed houses reaching out to a distant horizon. And another ten minutes out and the houses are interspersed with parks, ponds, streams and small woods. The horizon once more closes in, but not because of buildings, but because of the mountains.

The sound of “semi” (cicadas) was really loud when I got off the train and it’s one of the sounds I’ve learned to love since coming to Japan. The town around the foot of Mt. Takao was very traditional, with small shops and restaurants and not a Mc. Donalds/KFC/Burger King in sight!

I bought a new pair of Coleman hiking boots for the climb! I was really lucky getting these shoes because they were the last pair in the shop and obviously too big for any of the locals, so they were heavily discounted! They’re not Gore-tex, so I’m a little worried about how water-proof they’ll be, even if sprayed.

We’d read that Amino supplement drinks are good for preventing sore muscles so we thought we’d try them out. They come as a sachet of powder which you dissolve in a litre of water. I wasn’t expecting much in the flavour department, but was pleasantly surprised. The resulting drink was light, lemony and very refreshing. As for muscle pain: so far, so good!

I had been worried during the climb that I was going to get so tired I wouldn’t have any energy left for tomorrow, but I’m feeling fine now. Still, I can’t honestly say that I’m looking forward to climbing Fuji!

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Categories: Japan
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